warriors on the path of heart

last autumn a tradition was born: each month, on the afternoon of the full (or more recently, the new) moon, I gather together some of the sweetest yoginis I know, and we take on a challenging mountain hike– carrying our yoga mats on our backs. the pilgrimage always leads to a place of peace and stillness where we unfold into our asana practice, which is always an incredible honor to lead. while I carefully plan the classes that I teach indoors, when it comes to the yoga hikes, I let the wild world guide my every move, my every word borne on the wind speaking in trees, in the granite on which we stand to root ourselves, in the song of joy from the mouths of birds.
but– last october– it all started with a snake:

I go for a lone hike deep into the gorge to the east of the city— through the coast live oaks, past the grinding stones which in the brute heat of the day still ring with the l

aughter of women and their children (ancient & new), past the low trickle of the river whose desire to join the sea once cut through mountains.suddenly I want to gather here, in this spot, each month with as many of the sweet yoginis & fierce female warriors in my life as I can summon— to celebrate, sing, dance, practice, heal, laugh & carry the fire forth into the next moon, and the next.

I see it so clearly. my heart bays at the moon of this vision.

I thank the sagebrush around me for the idea— thank the sun, thank the earth. thank the bee on the flowering chaparral. and look down, and there she is! a beautiful, massive black & gold snake, sunning herself just inches from where my feet suddenly stopped in their own tracks— my awareness (thankfully) intact, my instincts alive to the present moment.

we share a moment of silent reverence. I recognize her as kundalini— as the flowing winding rising energy of the divine feminine.

I praise her— jai ma!— as she finds her way on her belly into the safety of the bracken, her sleek-dark body a fine slice of deadly precision across the dry heat of the trail.

I praise her, and I thank her for showing me (again, and again) the journey home.

this past weekend just three of us joined together at the trailhead to el cajon mountain, one of the most difficult hikes in the san diego county. though the hike to the ‘all-natural’ yoga studio is only about two miles out (and two back), there is a lot of elevation gain. good for the heart and the whole circulatory system! however, this time the blistering late summer heat upped the ante to make the trail just brutal. we stopped in the shade to meditate (and wait for our bodies to cool) before entering into a sweet, slow and very cooling restorative practice. no warrior poses on this day– just warriors of the light, walking the path in all weather and all seasons, reveling in the fiery power of summer sun.

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